Home Electric Panel Upgrade Wire Size
Can the existing electrical service wire be used for a larger panel? Planning for a Home Electrical Service Panel Upgrade.
Electrical Panel Wire
Electrical Question: Can the existing electrical service wire be used for a larger panel?
- I have a 120 amp service panel in my home and would like to step it up to 200 amps or perhaps 400 amps.
- There are 2 supply conductors going to the meter that are labeled 2 AWG.
- I know these do not have enough ampacity to run 400 amp service but wonder about 200 amps.
- From the main power line the wires are strung about 60′ through the air.
This electrical wiring question came from: Gabriel, a Handyman from Portland, Oregon.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Gabriel.
Planning for a Home Electrical Panel Upgrade
Application: Upgrading an Electrical Panel
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians Tools, pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the electric panel upgrade.
Estimated Time: Depends on the exact type of the existing panel or fuse box, the replacement panel to be installed, the original wiring methods that were used for installing the existing wiring, and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and typically requires specifications in accordance with the local utility company or electric service provider. Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Making changes to the Home Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Understanding Home Electrical Panel Upgrades
- The existing electrical service and wires are sized to support the 120 amp service which you now have.
- To upgrade the electrical panel to a higher amperage would require the main panel feeder circuit to be replaced with larger electrical wire and circuit components.
- The replacement wire size will depend on a number of factors including the following:
- The method that will be used to install wire into either an electrical conduit or a service cable.
- The insulation type of the wire or cable that will be installed.
- The conductor type of the wire or cable, which would be either aluminum or copper.
- The length of the wire or cable.
- Applicable local electrical codes which are adopted and enforced for this project.
- The electrical service drop from the utility company will most likely remain the same size unless it is old and needs replacing.
- A service upgrade such as this requires a permit and inspection and can be done best by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.